We Discuss The Lessons Learnt By The Founder of WP Feedback Pro Vito PelegVito Peleg
We Discuss The Lessons Learnt By A Founder of WP Feedback Pro Vito Peleg
We are honored and excited to have Vito Peleg for an interview with WP-Tonic. Here, we’ll throw light on Vito’s journey and most importantly learn all about his new WordPress plugin that is set to revolutionize the way you collect client feedback.
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic show. This is episode 553. We’ve got a real close friend of the show coming back. He’s a member of the WP tonic panel where we do our Friday show. It’s Vito Peleg. And he’s the founder of WP feedback. I also got my great hosts, Steven Saunders. With Vito we’re going to be discussing what he has learned from launching a premium WordPress plugin and service. It’s been almost 18 months ago when he decided to go down this amazing journey. He’s one of the most intelligent founders I know, and just a really nice guy. And he is a new found father as well. He has enough on his plate. Like I say, I’ve got my great host Steven as well. Steven, would you like to quickly introduce yourself?
Steven: My name’s Steven Sater. I am from zipfish.co. We make WordPress faster.
Jonathon: And before going into the main part of the interview with Vito, I just want to talk about one of our great sponsors. And that is Kinsta hosting. Kinsta hosting is a premier WordPress only hosting provider. If you’ve got a WooCommerce site, you’ve got a learning management system, Lifter LMS or Learn Dash you need powerful and reliable hosting. And that’s what you get with Kinsta. Kinsta has been sponsoring the show for the couple of years now. We host the WP tonic website. I’ve been totally happy with their support, the speed of the website, go over. If you’re looking for a new host for yourself or for clients go over to Kinsta to have a look at their packages. I suggest you should buy one. And if you do, please do the show a favor and tell Kinsta that you heard about them on the WP Tonic Show.
So Vito, it’s been 18 months. I imagine those 18 months have gone quickly. To start off the show, is there any kind of one thing that has come out that you didn’t expect that you really didn’t think was going to be a major issue or a major hurdle that you would have to overcome in these 18 months that you like to tell the listeners and viewers?
Vito: So I first came into this WP feedback from an agency. So I started to build up an agency of 12 guys here in London. And then from there, we created this tool for ourselves as a way of scratching our own itch and that it was awesome. So we decided to bring it to the market. So that was kind of the other things going up until that release. What we didn’t count for was the fact that in the WordPress ecosystem specifically in the WordPress ecosystem, every website is different. It would be on a different host or it that would have a different stack of plugins, different developers, coding the themes and the backend, and, you know, adding all kinds of different patches or patches.
You come across websites with more than a thousand active plugins installed. So you see, like you really get to see the behind the scenes into how people are using WordPress as you’re dealing with you know, with websites at scale with customers at scale. And that’s something that I didn’t account for that much. I know it was going to be some because I can see from the products that I’m using, that there’s always those compatibility fixes. And every release probably has one or two compatibility fixes on it, on every plugin out there. And so that is a challenge that we didn’t account for when it comes to the vast amount of adaptations where you need to do for every single plugin that is out there, especially with such a fun and driven tool like ours.
Jonathon: So before I hand over it to Steven, and so even though you are an experienced web designer developer, and you are running your own agency, it was still a surprise.
Vito: Well, we were running our own stack and at least for me, it seems like our stack is good. And of course I learned that there’s other better ways of doing it as well throughout this process and compared to how we were doing it in the agency. But still for us, it worked. And so like, you assume that there’s going to be some of this, but not to this scale.
Jonathon: It is larger and wider. So you knew it was there, but you just under. So how did that affect the level of support? So did that really kind of affect the level of support and the amount of support that you had to give? Is that why you’re bringing it up because you had the consequences?
Vito: That’s the result of it, you know, because you want your solution to work smooth on every stack out there. And I know that I need to reach out to support for products that I use to handle my stack. So imagine getting that for tens of thousands of people, those requests are going in, it’s definitely something we haven’t accounted for. Because the product itself doesn`t work, when we were working on it, and I’m not saying that it doesn’t work, but there’s these tiny glitches in, and then you want to make sure that everyone has a seamless experience. So this is one of the things that now for version 2.0, being aware of this thing, we’re building the whole thing from the ground up with that in mind. That requires a bit of out of the box, thinking, especially with a tool like ours, to make sure that it is compatible throughout.
But it’s just something that you have in the account. And then throughout the year it’s not only the plugins that are out there, it’s plugins that keep changing. So basically two months Divvy released an update. So we had something that had to be sold to Dell. Then Elementor went out with a 3.0, and then you had to do something there. Then Gutenberg is all over the place. WordPress is really six staff removing Jake when his form staff that you were relying on. So it’s a constant game of a cat and mouse basically.
Steven: It’s hard when you’re dealing with so many different stacks. I think it’s so interesting how, like, so many companies are started from like solving your own pain point. Like as an agency, obviously, like, it seems like this feedback loop right. Was a pain point that your experience, I think one of the huge challenges with that is how doing you has an agency and build a product at the same time? How did you guys manage that? Did you just like shut down the agency or did you keep both running? How did you prioritize that work? Because there’s always that tension there.
Vito: That tension was happening all the way throughout to the first year, even going into the plugin because I didn’t just stop the revenue stream. I add employees and, you know, stuff, you can’t just say, okay, we’re pivoting completely.
But it was a transition that was completed after a full year of doing the product, which is a lot faster than I thought it would take honestly. Because the product took off very nicely. So that allowed me to really push all of my focus just on the product, starting this off. I was on a journey myself of trying to figure out the next step. So you know, I went from that freelancer to an agency and then we got to that. There is pretty much like 12 to 15 people agencies where you would see the growth stop. That’s where it becomes very, very hard to push that rock up the Hill, you know, to create a profitable business, not just the big business. So my path out of it was okay, I need to scale up and a product is the way to do it.
Like custom services is only going to get you so far. Or unless you really specialize and love it, you know, and you love doing those big deals and the big working with the big clients that have the budgets to sustain a seven figure or eight figure business, which was my goal to get the scale up. So to me, I was always searching for what can I do? How can I move away from the agency model and scale up with something that is repeatable? And I was playing with a few different ideas. I was thinking of building a course because we’re working along with nonprofits. So I was thinking of creating a course for teaching nonprofits, how to go digital and stuff like that. And I was really building that. And while I was building it, putting my attention, the agency kept coming back with stuff that needs attention. So I was like I need to focus on this charity cost. So how about we just do something like envision, but on the website so that we don’t get all of this mess, you know? And I told this to my team and I got them to build it out as a really scrappy version of it just for us. And that kind of was the initial process of building the product.
There’s something on the internet, in the new place. So I was saying that we built it just for ourselves as a scrappy version. And so I looked at it as like, okay, I’m going to invest some resources out of my dev team. And then it’s going to save us time with clients. I had no idea that it’s going to work this this nicely, you know, like we do so much out of this. I was more trying to get this off of my plate because I wanted to do other stuff, but also trying to increase the profitability because I realized that this is something that is really chipping away into our growth. The fact that every project has a deadline, but they don’t really. And so that was really killing the profitability within the agency, especially when it’s at scale.
And then you also have the function of trying to get different team members to do the same thing. Like follow the same procedures exactly. And that was also kind of a bit of a challenge as the team grew. So this was just like my quick solution to do it right. But then once it worked for us, I said, screw this charity because let’s see what I can do with this thing. And the way that I wanted to approach this was like we were doing a campaign for a client at the agency. Because we were doing these launches all the time for our clients. So it was for a really at the beginning, it was just another project out of like 15 that were in the pipeline at the same time. And we gave you the same amount of gravitas, but we just knew that it was our own. As soon as it exploded, like, you know, within the first 30 days, we just generated more than $100,000 in revenue from this product.
And then I was like, okay, now I already forgot about this charity cause. Mask, who the agency let’s just do this, you know? And that was kind of my thought process. And then, you know, we just stopped taking projects. It took some time to finish stuff. And we still kept clearing out those care plan clients, the ones that we didn’t really want to have. We kept about 20 Care plan clients that are still running with us to this day. But to me they are because of WP feedback they are just passive income. You know, there’s nothing much happening there and gives us the opportunity to get high on our own supply and still use the product on a daily basis. So we find the stuff before the users do. It actually all works together.
Steven: So like right now you’ve kind of completely pivoted your whole entire is focused on WP feedback.
Vito: We have one old plugin that we created doing the agency that is still selling. So we still support that. But yeah, we don’t do any kind of projects anymore.
Steven: That’s super cool that you kept some clients around there, like doing my care package kind of stuff. So you’re using your own product. Because I feel like it’s oftentimes easy when you start building a product to just like, get so into like, Oh, this is the product that I’m building, and you’re thinking about the user you’re building it for, but you’re never actually the user that’s using it.
Vito: Yes, exactly. And that was super important for me. You know, because if you’re in the trenches, you know what’s going on. You know the bugs, you know, the, you know, the product inside and out. And, and it’s the same as, you know, like when, when you’re building a business as a whole, I always like to know at least some of what every function does. And this way I put myself through the pain, you know, when, when I’m building a new process that will run through the business, I do it myself. And I like, even if it’s a painful and it takes a lot of time for, for a week or two, I do it so that I can figure out all of those different kinks so that when I pass this on or delegate this to a team member, it works, you know, it’s not just an idea of how it should work. How, how did you
Start building this solution yourself versus using like some of the other solutions that are kind of off the shelf that you can use? Like, I don’t know. Like when I come to that I’m familiar with is like bug heard and stuff, but like what, why did you say like, no, this is something that you
So we were already using some of them were using a vision and we’ll try to use user back. It was kind of happening on the App Sumo at some point. So I got that deal over there. I realized early on that visual collaboration is the way to go, because everything that we’re doing is visual, but yet there is no visual representation of it. It’s all just words trying to describe a picture. So I realized that this was the way to go and we’re using envision, but then we had a project that had like 150 pages that these designing like a massive, massive project. And in the vision where you need to take a screenshot of every page. Not only that, if there are tabs happening on the page, then it becomes like five pages, five screenshots.
Every time you make a change, you’ve got to take a new screenshot, bring it back in, and move the stickers around because it’s all just graphic feedback kind of concept. So I my idea was like I need to bring the client onto the website so that we don’t use any other tools. Because every time you want to try, you tried to send the client to a different place, they will resist. Especially if it’s a brand new system for them, but to bring them to the website that they paid for is a lot more logical. So that’s why we went down this route and no one was doing it like that. No one was having it integrated into the website. And also figured if we have it as a plugin that is sitting on the client’s website, we can do it not only on the front end, like everyone was still able to do.
We can build a backend feature. So you can train clients on how to use Yoast, how to use the new reports of WooCommerce. And all the new kinds of stuff that they’ll keep being added into the system. And the main point is just keeping it in back, you know, to it, they use, they wear the shoes. That’s how we say it in the company, you got to get the customer to wear the shoes or it stayed in the box. They’re never in the person’s mind if they’re not on their feet.
Steven: Yeah. So your plugin works both on the front end and the back end. So like, I could be like, hey, here’s what you need to do on the back end. And here’s what needs to happen on the front end or like what, or ask questions or have engaged that like in feedback and change things. That’s super interesting. I didn’t realize that. That’s so cool.
Vito: Yeah. So the idea is to use this throughout, and as we are growing the vision as broadened as well. So we started this all right. We just need to be in the feedback tour, but the way we look at it right now, and I think that this is one of the key points as well, that I learn from this process. Is that you must have a very strong mission and a very broad vision. And this is something that I haven’t accounted for at the beginning because I was building a product, you know, okay. It’s like one another thing. But once I saw the potential and I saw the pain that our customers are going through. I felt the pain, but I had no idea that this is such a widespread thing, you know, through lots of ecosystem. So I figured, all right, someone needs to step up and build the ultimate project delivery system.
So instead of just focusing on the feedback, now, the platform allows everything from the beginning of the project, all the way to a, to the support. And after we went wide, now we’re going deep. You know, now, so we created the base features for everything, but you can always make them more elaborate and add more stuff to it. And you know bells and whistles. So that’s the stage we’re at right now pretty much.
Jonathon: Oh, that’s great. We’re going to go for our break. In the second half, we’re going to be delving into Vito’s journey in a bit more detail. We will be back in a few moments.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back. We’ve had a great first half with our friend Vito. Friend of the show, fellow panelists on the WP Tonic round table show. Before we go into the second half, I want to tell you, we’re doing a webinar with Uncle Spencer. So, you know, you’ve listened to his advert. But we’re doing a webinar on the Friday, the 11th of December this month, and we’re doing the 10:30 AM. And what we’re going to be doing is that we’re going to be looking at Spencer’s product launch flows, but we’re going to go a step further. We’re really going to really delve deep in how you use launch flows with WP fusion. And with probably over a native CRM or with a SAS CRM. We haven’t made our mind up. But either be with fluent CRM or with active campaign. And we’re going to be showing you how to build in WordPress, an effective funnel that is basically better than click funnels system. And we’re going to be doing that live. So it should be fun.
You can go to the WP Tonic website, there’s a button in the top webinar that says webinar, just click it. And you’ll be able to sign up and join us on Friday the 11th of December at 10:30 AM. It should be a great educational webinar. So Vito, you know, in every entrepreneur , we all have this fantasy that we can dominate a market and it just be us and we can charge whatever we like. And we don’t have to take any notice of the competition, but that’s not the reality. And if you’re on your own in the market that can also be worrying because that means that there is no market. There is no demand. Now I think it’s fair to say, we’ve got to be real here. You do have some competitors. You’ve got one main WordPress competitor. I think it is project Hubble. And you got a couple SAS based competitors. How much notice do you take of your competitors? And how do you position your own products in the reality of the market where you have these other competitors? Or don’t you take any notice of them at all? You know, you deliberately don’t look at them at all?
Vito: So when we first started, we did go through and check out like what’s happening. And actually after we add the pretty basic order, we want it to see how others are doing it before it goes out. So we did have a look, but no one was doing it in the way that we were. We kind of rethought the process of doing a plugin, no one had a plugin. Then some created the plugin over the past couple of months. Now, where I started with this was again with this visual feedback. And then I realized that this is just a part of the solution. And this is what is also offered throughout the market. So that goes back to the point of broadening the vision to create that competitive advantage over whoever is out there.
So now we’re not only competing with a user back in and, and project out, and these kinds of stuff where this is just a part of our system. And we’re also competing with Trello because we have both systems in place. And we’re also competing with Zendesk, you know, because it’s a support system. And we’re also competing with email, which is email is basically 78% of the market is still using email. So this is the real competition. You know, when you’re looking at SAS, it’s not even that the remaining at 22% are SAS. It’s that like 80% others is they have no system. It’s like on the phone and whatever is happening on WhatsApp and on Facebook or everywhere. Basically, that’s the left, the no system method. And only about 3% are the tools that you’re mentioning.
So there’s just so much to go around that I don’t concern myself with this at all. Our users sometimes do. And so I need to jump in and say like just to emphasize the difference of the vision, how we’re looking at it from a broader, let’s solve your project instead of how we can solve talking to the clients. That’s done, you know, that’s already done. And that’s what you will see a lot with some of the other products that are out there as well, is that they kind of build it out and stopped. It’s done. But I don’t want to take the support. I think that we’re building out like platforms that can like you’re saying dominate, you know, and this is like the entrepreneurial dream. It will dominate this industry in terms of delivering projects.
And I can`t see why not, you know, in five, seven years of us doing it going five, seven years in the future, I can see why every project in the world will not be delivered through a system. Some type of system.
Jonathon: The only area, which I would try and work very closely with project management platforms. Because if you take it too far you will be seen as a competitor.
Vito: I like that. Nabbing users from base camp and Trello and Asana, they’re leaving them and coming over because, and I’ll tell you what, how our approach was there. We’re not a project management system or project delivery system that the tool is the project manager. It’s not that you need to find, how I am going to take this generic project management system and adapt it to my business where I don’t know how to build the system. The entire industry is to clinicians trying to figure out how to build the business. You know, it’s like designers and developers trying to figure out how to run and grow a proper business. So we just said, all right, why should you learn? That’s just build a system that will do it for you, give you the system, give you the processes that you should have. It’s going to take you 10 years to even think of this stuff, you know, before they’re even happening.
Jonathon: Over to you Steven.
Steven: So we built this awesome product. It’s ramping up and going awesome. You’re growing like crazy. But one of the things that I think is always hard to figure out is pricing and how you position yourself in the market. Like where did you start? What have you learned? And how have you adjusted that as you’ve grown in like where you are now?
Vito: So we’ve pretty much doubled or even tripled our prices already by now. By the time compared to the time that we started. And I prefer to work with people that value the tool. And I see that in a lot of campaigns where so now we did a Black Friday campaign. We gave away one free domain to everyone that wanted. We recruited thousands of people for this campaign. And now we’ll see how we’re going to be able to upgrade them. And this is part of the journey, Stephen of always be testing. So there was an opportunity in Black Friday to do something innovative and groundbreaking, instead of doing 20% discount, we gave 100% on one domain. But we invested a lot into the upgrade path to get them from that free solution to actually a paying customer.
And now in December, not doing Black Friday because everyone was competing. Again, Jonathan, you were talking about, how do you look at competition? Black Friday is such an amazing example for both pricing and competition because every business in the world is selling the hell out of what they have at the same time. And you’re basically competing for those $300 that a user has in their pocket that is allocated for their Black Friday spending. And that’s it once it’s finite, you know, once this budget is gone, it’s gone.
Jonathon: I spent a lot more than $300.00.
Vito: I spent a lot less. I heard of a friend that spent like 15K over the past week, just on software buying stuff.
Jonathon: I had a bullet list that we’re offering lifetime, most of them are offering lifetime deals. And as an agency provider that`s what I’m looking for a lifetime deal. There was one or two that weren’t, but or they were, but I actually tried out their product extensively. So I decided just to buy a year and then if they were still offering the lifetime, I would probably consider it. I hadn’t tested it, but there are all different types of buyers out there. Isn’t it, it’s very diverse.
Vito: If you want to quantify them to that average, from what I know, that’s around the $300 that a person would spend there on software specifically on SAS related stuff.
Jonathon: I don’t think you decided to go down the road, but there’s a lot of criticism of people using that. And I understand the criticism, but I also think it’s very crucial for not only to get cash flow in, but a much more important aspect, which might make it worthwhile looking at AppSumo. I think you used different methods, but it’s actually getting people using your products in a scale where the feedback becomes relevant. Even with a lot of experience, you are only making educational. You’re making educated guesses, aren’t you? If you’re not getting the real users, but don’t have any connection to you trying your products. Would you agree with that?
Vito: I agree with the fact that you must test and get feedback all the time from users. That’s for sure. I don’t agree with the AppSumo approach, especially for a young product. Let me revise that. That depends on what type of product you’re selling. So let’s say that you have a plug in, the other plugin that we have, it’s like a small WooCommerce extension. And it does a very particular thing. We only keep it up to date, but we don’t develop it further. And so it’s kind of static, there’s like three full updates a year tiny ones.
That would be amazing on something like AppSumo because the amount of support is minuscule. And you’re just selling something that is already created. Which kind of negates the point of getting marketed feedback, because for that product, I push away market feedback, you know, if there’s a bug, we’ll fix it, but any feature requests, no, no, I don’t want it deal with that. The purpose of the product is to be a side project. And that would be great from AppSumo from point of view, generating users, generating revenue, generating awareness for this product, not so much for the market research. But then a product like me, like you’re saying would need because we keep developing and we keep expanding with the main point without be feedback.
So customer feedback is super important there to collect all the time. The problem is that with a product like this, the app store model just breaks. The cost of a user is higher than the revenue that you can generate from there. Especially if they’re taking 30 to 50. I even heard of 60% sometimes that they would take an even before anything happened. But the support tickets aren’t going to come in anyway. So I wouldn’t do it, if it’s a product that you, that you see growing, don’t. If it’s a product that you kind of like, this is it. I created a nice function that people want, then that’s perfect. Or this is another marketing channel that kind of leads me to what you said about lifetime deals. Because AppSumo is all about the lifetime deals, same thing.
If it’s a small product that you’re probably not going to get any much support around it. And you know, probably this plug in that we’re running in the background, we’re not going to be supporting it for years and years to come. It’s not a big focus. It’s just some money that goes directly to me at the end of the month. And so it’s a side hustle and it’s going to stay like that until it’s going to die out eventually. And basically, because it’s not being pumped, there’s no new energy being pumped into it.
So that`s fine lifetime deal perfect. But if, again, it’s a product that you’re developing constantly lifetime deal is going to kill you if you don’t do it right. And you have to sell just a few licenses and try to maximize the revenue from them, which is why we did as the initial launch strategy, instead of going down to AppSumo route, which I researched thoroughly. Cause that was my idea as well. Awesome. AppSumo they’re going to love this thing that I put it out there, got to get 2000 users party. Right. But then you do the numbers and you get so many headaches from 2000 users.
So we decided, all right, instead of selling it to 2000 for 50 bucks, let’s sell it to 200 for 500 and then you have a small group of really dedicated people because they invested $500 into it and they really want it to work. Because it’s a lot more than 50 bucks that it didn’t work. Is this going to go on the, on the shelf, on the SAS shelf, right? Of all the LTDs that we all have a growing shelf like this.
Jonathon: And I’m very careful about what I buy now.
Vito: Because the shelf is not warm anymore.
Jonathon: I don’t like a free four month period where I was buying. I was looking at a particular either, particularly in the, and I was buying a lot of stuff that seemed to be the leads. And so I’ve got about four to six on the shelf. I’m much fussier about what I buy from AppSumo now.
Vito: I used to go all out. You know, there was a new deal on AppSumo you just get you just go and check it before it ran out. You know, the former effect was very strong in the beginning.
Jonathon: Some people were very critical, but there still are some very interesting bargains to be had. You got to be more honest.
Vito: I have one product I’m using from AppSumo and I bought like 40, which I think is 45. Like these little widgets that come out. And this is a perfect product for AppSumo, because who is going to reach out to a support for a little widget that comes to the side.
Jonathon: We are going to end the podcast part of the show. Vito’s going to stay with us for now for 10, 15 minutes for bonus content, which you be able to hear and watch on the WP Tonic YouTube channel. So go over there. I’ve got a lot of other videos on the channel. Go over to the WP Tonic, YouTube channel and subscribe. It really does help the show. I also want to do a shout out for Steven’s product. He’s been helping us with some client and also with some of our own sites for speed generation. And he and his team do a fantastic job. So go over to zip fish and a look at what they can do when it comes to the speed of your website.
Vito: So is that a product that you’re offering or is it like you’re doing it as a service?
Jonathon: It’s a service.
Steven: There’s like a one-time optimization that we do as a service or there is a monthly where we manage the servers as well as all the coding.
Jonathon: So Vito, how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Vito: Check out wpfeedback.co and they can find me directly on Twitter.
Jonathon: That’s great. And Steven how can people find out more about you and your company?
Steven: Head over to zipfish.io, run a speed test and see how fast we can make you website.
Jonathon: That’s great. We’ll see you next week with another great guest like Vito. Remember bonus content on the WP YouTube channel. We’ll see you next week folks.
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